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Demand Gen: Are You Doing It All Wrong?
Patrick Spenner / Forbes.com / October 21, 2013
Pick up a white paper from most any marketing automation supplier or read a blog post from a content marketing guru, and the conventional wisdom goes something like this.
- It’s an increasingly noisy world, so just breaking through to B2B buyers is tough
- To break through, you need GREAT content. Great content isn’t about you, it’s about the customer.
- In fact, it’s not about the demo-firmographic customer (CIOs at companies larger than $100M in revenue), it’s about buyer archetypes or personas, and their individual pain points and objectives. Businesses don’t make purchase decisions, after all. People do.
- Personalize your content to these personas. Be present with your content in the spots they frequent.
- Set up your marketing automation to drive engagement with these personas, to nurture them. Feed them content that further speaks to those persona pain points and objectives.
- Measure purchase readiness by level of engagement and signals of BANT (budget, authority, need, timeline)
- Pass those nurtured leads to sales for slam dunk close.
- Open champagne to celebrate.
Sounds great, doesn’t it? How could this possibly be wrong?
Here’s how. None of this conventional wisdom is at all attuned to the underlying, but deeply powerful consensus and group dynamics of the typical B2B purchase. And in particular, how early in the typical B2B purchase those group dysfunction dynamics rear their ugly heads. It all stems from a mental model of the purchase in which Marketing senses individual willingness to buy, and then passes leads to Sales to work the broader customer buying group and close the deal.
Until marketers reckon with the early group dysfunction, they are destined to eke out annual gains of 5 or 10% (at best) improvement in lead conversion rates, with a cap on conversion in the best of all worlds in the 20% range. It just won’t get higher than that – unless you get smarter about the complexities of the demand gen process.